A music exam can be a strange event. For all of the build-up (which in theory is probably at least a few months) it is usually all over within a matter of about 15 minutes. However much you prepare, something can always happen on the day that has never happened before. But don't forget - as much as there is a chance that something could go wrong or differently than you were expecting, there is still a good chance that certain elements could go even better than you thought.
The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.
Elbert Hubbard
Here are a few important things to remember:

  • The examiner will probably spend most of their time writing. This does not mean it is going badly. They will write just as much if you do well. IGNORE THEM!!!
  • Because they are writing so much, they are often not looking at you. If you KNOW you've just done some wrong fingering in a scale, but you can keep it going, make sure you do. There is a good chance the examiner did not notice it. But they certainly will if you stop!!
  • Everything that has just happened should be forgotten. So, if you've just played a piece and you know it did not go well, do NOT let it affect the rest of your exam. The overall effect of your mistake is probably far less than you imagine, so don't let it ruin your concentration in subsequent pieces.
  • Don't go into the exam fearing a certain part of your pieces. Far too often I hear the phrase "I'm dreading that bit" or "I hope that bit goes ok". There should never be a "bit" that you dread. If there is, sort it out before the exam with proper practise. Don't just repeat the same mistake over and over again. All you are doing is memorising the mistake!
Remember, if you've done any decent work on your scales and pieces, these exams are actually quite hard to fail. If you haven't done enough work on them, it is a little hard to sympathise. Sound harsh? Well the way I look at it is this - knowing all of the pieces and scales before the exam is a little like being given all of the answers to a maths exam. Who wouldn't bother to learn them?